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Types of Businesses to Start

10 Business Ideas Ready To Launch!

Where do you find a good business idea? Right here. Here you’ll find several innovative business ideas that are ripe for plucking.

GG van Rooyen




Where do you find a brilliant business idea?

It’s not as hard as it may seem at first. In fact, the idea is arguably not all that important. There’s a reason investors talk about backing the jockey and not the horse: It’s often not about the idea, but the execution.

A great entrepreneur can turn even a mediocre idea into a success; all that’s needed is a USP and great customer service.

That said, some ideas are undoubtedly better than others. And some businesses are easier to get off the ground. In the following pages you’ll find a curated list of business ideas that have reached a point where they’re just waiting to be exploited.

Get a Food Truck


Balkan Burger with their South African Food Truck

Food trucks have become phenomenally popular in the United States. If you’ve seen the popular movie Chef, you know what it’s about — providing satisfying and simple fare, but with a certain culinary flair.

The popularity of food trucks has exploded in America over the last few years, and South Africa is now catching up. Food trucks have arrived locally in a big way.

As an entrepreneur, setting up a food truck has lot of benefits when compared to a traditional restaurant. It is cheaper to set up and operate, it sidesteps a lot of the logistical hassles associated with running a restaurant, and you can park it wherever the crowds are.

Related: Food with Thought: How One Franchise is Making the World a Better Place through Sandwiches

But it can be tough work. You need to be very passionate about food if you plan on spending long hours in a hot and claustrophobic food truck.

What’s good about it?

  • Cheaper to start and operate than a restaurant
  • Not tied to any one location
  • Great potential profit margins.

What’s worrying?

  • Hard work and long hours
  • Legal hassles. Most food-truck operators have stories of being chased off by officials
  • Competition in the fast food space is fierce.

Risk and investment in food trucks

Start a Business-plan Service


Start a Business Plan service

The problem with pitching a business to investors is that they all want to see a business plan. And creating a proper business plan is hard. Like very hard. There’s a whole bunch of numbers to crunch and market research to do, and who has time for that?

So there is a definite opportunity for someone who is willing to do the dirty work and provide clients with a comprehensive business plan that can be shown to an investor with confidence.

If you’re good at doing research, and enjoy writing, creating a business-plan service is an opportunity worth looking into.

Related: Business Plan Examples to Get You Going

What’s good about it?

  • Can be started with virtually no money
  • Can be very profitable
  • A great way to make useful business connections.

What’s worrying?

  • Very time-consuming
  • Lots of hard work and number crunching
  • You need to enjoy doing research.

Risk and investment business plan service

Renovate People’s Homes


Renovate homes for a living

Regardless of whether someone is looking to sell a home or simply upscale it, some simple renovations can add a significant chunk of money to its value. And they don’t need to spend R500 000 to make a real difference.

For a relatively small amount, they can replace the carpets, paint a feature wall or update a bathroom.

A great business opportunity exists to provide quick and cost-effective renovations to homes.

Having your home renovated is a hassle, so being able to provide a service that can complete a room in record time (think Extreme Makeover: Home Edition) can provide you with a great competitive advantage.

Related: Forget Stock Markets – Think House Flipping

What’s good about it?

  • Great potential turnover
  • Significant potential profit margin
  • Fun and creative environment.

What’s worrying?

  • Substantial initial investment
  • High-pressure environment
  • Carpentry skills, decorating know-how and crew needed.

Risk and investment fixing houses

Document Special Events


Why don’t you make a memory last forever?

With the rise of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, people are now obsessively documenting their lives online.

This has created a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs to provide a service that documents special events and allows photos to be uploaded to the web instantly.

We’re not just talking about weddings here — we’re also talking about bachelor parties, birthdays, baby showers, matric dances and graduations — in short, any event that deserves to be documented.

The good news is that you don’t need to be Annie Leibovitz to start up a business such as this. In fact, almost no photography knowledge is needed. How so? Well, you can set up a photo booth that allows people to take their own pictures.

All you need to do is plug it in and make sure there’s internet access. For local examples, have a look at SelfieBox, The Magic Photo Booth and The Picture Booth.

Related: 10 Businesses You Can Start Part-Time

What’s good about it?

  • Perfect business to start on the side (most events are after-hours)
  • No photography expertise needed
  • Customers will be marketing your business for you online.

What’s worrying?

  • Late hours and drunk customers
  • Lots of travel
  • Internet connection and electricity required, regardless of where the event is.

Risk and investment event management

Deliver Fresh and Nutritious Meals


Healthy eating is the newest and most important trend that you can cash in on

Fast food and ready-to-eat meals are rarely healthy and nutritious, but the hectic pace of modern life often means that people have no option but to opt for food that they know is bad for them. The solution? Fresh and healthy ready-made meals that are delivered to an office or home.

The concept has been around for a few years, but is becoming increasingly popular. Search for ‘healthy meal deliveries South Africa’ on Google, and you’ll find plenty of local companies already offering this service.

This is a service aimed directly at a pain point that many people have, so it is very promising. If you have a large kitchen, some serious cooking skills and your own car, you can also start up a meal-delivery business pretty cheaply, though scaling it can be pricey.

Related: 10 Businesses to Start That Can Weather Any Economy

What’s good about it?

  • Can be started on a small scale for a small investment
  • Addresses a real pain point
  • Healthy eating is becoming a priority for many people.

What’s worrying?

  • You need a car, kitchen and cooking credentials
  • Competition is growing, but the potential market is big
  • Costing is crucial. Meals need to be well priced while still providing a decent margin. Delivery can quickly eat into profits.

Risk and Investment Food delivery

Offer 3D-printing Services


3D printing could be the gap you want to get in and fill

3D printing is leaving the realm of science fiction and slowly becoming an everyday reality. And although we haven’t quite started to experience the repercussions yet, this technology is set to change manufacturing in a massive way.

3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) is no longer a curiosity. The days of printing gnomes and other bric-a-brac for the sheer fun of it are over. The technology is now being used in direct part production, taking a small yet significant bite out of traditional manufacturing.

According to the Wohlers Report 2015 — which examines the state of the 3D printing industry — additive manufacturing (AM) services is now a $2 billion global industry. Importantly, it took AM roughly 20 years to reach $1 billion of yearly revenue, but only five years to reach its second billion.

The Wohlers Report 2015 also states that AM could capture around 5% of the global manufacturing market in the not-too-distant future, which would disrupt the industry in a big way.

Related: 8 Steps for Nurturing a Winning Business Idea

What’s good about it?

  • Demand for 3D printing services is set to grow
  • Technology is quickly improving
  • AM is becoming accepted as a viable form of manufacturing.

What’s worrying?

  • 3D printers remain very expensive
  • Technology can be finicky and not very user-friendly
  • Design software can be hard to use.

Risk and Investment 3D printing

Sell Kids Products Online


Nelia Annandale – Keedo Founder

Upmarket food, toys and clothes for children are growing in popularity. Although South Africa is an emerging market, local parents clearly aren’t skimping when it comes to their kids.

According to research company Nielsen, the South African nappy market is worth about R4 billion, and has grown by 11,5% over the last year. Baby-food sales grew by 10,8% year on year, and 46% of respondents interviewed said that the level of nutrition on offer was key when choosing baby food.

When it comes to e-commerce, Nielsen states that: “Baby care consumers are more likely to purchase baby supplies in a physical store rather than online, but this trend is changing as more consumers are switching to online channels. E-commerce retailers are also able to compete on price and convenience, due to reduced capital investment in physical infrastructure and, in some cases, the elimination of links in the supply chain. It also offers a compelling proposition for busy parents: the convenience of shopping whenever, wherever they desire, often with free delivery to their front door. A true case of what, where and when a consumer wants during one of the most demanding times of their lives.”

Buying baby products online is already big business overseas. The online diaper business,, was sold to Amazon for $545 million in 2010.

Related: How Calamitous Export Red Tape Spurred Unlimited Growth for Keedo

What’s good about it?

  • Easy to start-up
  • Low initial cost
  • Premium kids products are growing in popularity.

What’s worrying?

  • Most local sales are still happening in physical stores
  • Competition is becoming increasingly fierce
  • The shaky economy can see parents opt for cheaper options.

Risk and investment childrens ecommerce store

Provide Some ‘Adult Entertainment’


Adults are also looking for a fun outlet

Relax, we’re not talking about that kind of adult entertainment. What we’re talking about here are fun and innovative ways for adults to relax, unwind and embrace their inner child.

Adult fun parks are springing up all over the place. Trampoline parks are particularly popular at the moment, but there are others, such as climbing parks that allow you to scale tree structures and ‘zorbing’ parks that allow you to roll down hills in inflatable balls.

Related: 10 Key Questions to Determine Whether Your Dream Is a Business

What’s good about it?

  • Very trendy now
  • Fun working environment
  • Potential to be very lucrative.

What’s worrying?

  • Requires substantial start-up capital
  • Requires large space to operate in
  • Popular at the moment, but could turn out to be a fad that blows over.

Risk and Investment adult entertainment

Brew Craft Beer


Take your hobby to the next level

It’s not just hipsters ordering craft beer these days. Craft beer has gone mainstream. In fact, just about every restaurant and liquor store sells it.

This means that there is definite scope to open up your own craft beer operation. It can be surprisingly cheap and easy to do, provided you start small and don’t over-invest.

Local companies such as BeerLab and BrewCraft can provide you with what you need to get your operation going.

According to Standard Bank, the craft beer market grew by 30% in 2015, and appears set to grow by another 35% in 2016. In 2011, craft beer was responsible for a mere 0,3% of the local premium and light beer consumed. If the trend continues, that number will rise to 2,1% by 2017 (18 million litres of beer).

Related: Slow Brewed

What’s good about it?

  • Can be done with little investment
  • Demand for craft beer is set to rise
  • Can be started at home.

What’s worrying?

  • Trendy at the moment, but demand could drop
  • Loads of local competition
  • Business can scale, but will quickly become more expensive.

Risk and investment_Craft beer

Create An App


App creation hasn’t lost it’s charm yet

App creation is the modern equivalent of the gold rush. Just about everyone is trying to strike it rich by coming up with an awesome app, and for good reason: Creating an app is a potentially very lucrative yet easy way to make money these days. After all, building an app that becomes popular on the Google Play store and the Apple App Store can provide you with a steady stream of income.

Trevor McKendrick appeared on Alex Blumberg’s popular StartUp podcast to talk about a Spanish-language Bible app that he created. McKendrick took a clever approach to app creation. He studied the app stores, looking for apps that were popular, despite not actually being all that good.

What he found was a Spanish-language Bible app that was terrible, but was selling extremely well because it was the only app of its kind available. He created a better version a couple of years ago, and has been making a cool $100 000 a year with his app ever since.

So there is definitely money to be made, you just need to find the right idea.

Related: Native Reveals Creative Emerging Digital Trends

What’s good about it?

  • Huge potential
  • Requires little investment
  • Can provide steady stream of passive income.

What’s worrying?

  • You need to know how to code or have a partner who knows how to code
  • Huge competition
  • Can be very time-consuming, at least initially.

Risk and investment App creation

GG van Rooyen is the deputy editor for Entrepreneur Magazine South Africa. Follow him on Twitter.


Company Posts

Ideas To Start Your Own Business In Signage And Printing

The event is taking place from 13-15 September at Gallagher Convention Centre.




According to Lynette Nicholson, Research Manager at Old Mutual, ‘a growing number of people in working metropolitan households – particularly in the middle to upper income brackets – are finding ways to supplement their incomes by having more than one job’. This is based on research findings of the 2017 Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor.

The signage and printing industry offers opportunities for small start-ups or those looking to grow their businesses with minimal investment. These opportunities will be showcased at the upcoming Sign Africa and FESPA Africa expo, which is co-located with Africa Print and Africa LED.

The event is taking place from 13-15 September at Gallagher Convention Centre.

Entry level screen printing solutions

Screen printing on T-shirts and other promotional items is a simple and cost-effective business solution. It is also a way to open opportunities in new market segments. Applications include overalls, shopping bags, promotional, corporate and safety wear, wood, vinyl, paper, plastics, metals, flat substrates like clipboards, binders, notebooks, mouse pads, coasters, business cards, stickers and corrugated signs or posters.

Related: 3 Tips For Starting A Company In An Unfamiliar Industry

‘A minimal investment of R10,000 or less can get you started with a one colour table top unit. This comes with a screen a squeegee and inks as well as cleaning materials, photo-emulsion and cleaning chemicals. A heat press can be used to cure the inks. These vary in price, starting at R4,500 for a 380x380mm unit,’ said Dov Meyers, Sales Director at Chemosol.

‘For all newcomers into the printing world this is where you need to start because there are endless possibilities when it comes to screen printing,’ he added.

Depending on the size of your equipment, you can set up in a small space such as a room in a house or garage. Hall one at the FESPA Africa and Sign Africa expo is dedicated to textile printing, with exhibitors showcasing inks, screen printing equipment, garment decorating equipment, heat presses, cap presses, digital printers, consumables and more.

Mugs and promotional gifts

The heat presses, sublimation printers, crystal and glass decorating systems, inks consumables, sandblasting systems and equipment that will be exhibited at the event will enable visitors to enter into the Signage and Novelty and Corporate gifting market.

Sublimation systems allow you to print on T-Shirts, caps, ceramic plates and tiles, mugs, mouse pads, paper memo cubes, jigsaw puzzles, lettering, kit bags, jeans, takkies, belts, sweatbands, plaques, mirrors, coated metals and other miscellaneous fabrics and material.

Vehicle Wrapping

Vehicle wrapping is a popular medium to ‘drive’ brand awareness, and with the great volume of cars on the road and high congestion rates, it can be a very effective marketing tool for commercial vehicles.

Vehicle wrapping’s return on investment is high. Richard Wood, National Retail Solution Manager at transit media specialist Graffiti, said that the main reason for the high demand for vehicle branding is how cost effective vehicle advertising can be for brands.

‘The channel means that a business can use its assets as mobile billboards, which eliminates the monthly media fees associated with other out-of-home platforms.’

Related: 9 Answers You Need About Yourself Before Starting Your Own Business

Various companies will be doing vehicle wrapping demonstrations on their stands, showing off the capabilities of vinyl.

Of course, these business opportunities require training and some research. Luckily industry experts will be available at the Sign Africa and FESPA Africa expo to answer visitors’ questions. For more information about the event, and to register online, please visit:

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Types of Businesses to Start

How To Be A Social Entrepreneur

If you’re ready to launch a business, but want to make a real social impact too, the social entrepreneurship model might be right for you. Here’s how to get started.




A social enterprise is an organisation that serves a social and/or environmental purpose, generates income from business activities and reinvests its profits back into driving its mission.

Examples include African Schools of Excellence (provide world-class schools to poor communities at a low cost); Hands of Honour (upcycles waste and provide employment for former drug addicts and ex-convicts); and my own social enterprise, Nkazimulo Applied Sciences (helps young people become scientists regardless of their background).

Some people say most of the profits should be reinvested into the mission, but others say a worker is worth their wages. 

Doing business differently

Social entrepreneurship is a different way of doing business. Previously, few people cared about whether a company did good or not. Today, food outlets that serve healthy eating options are growing their market share because consumers now care about their health.

Related: Eva Longoria And Social Entrepreneurship

Farming responsibly opens the growing market that cares about the environment. More people care about the quality of education South African children have access to and support the efforts in this area. This is where social entrepreneurs can make a real, sustainable difference.

The entity can take any legal form, from a non-profit organisation, to a private company, a trust, or adopt a hybrid structure. Each has its pros and cons. Social enterprises take attributes from commercial entities.

They generate income from business activities. They also take attributes from non-profit organisations and government departments by tackling challenges previously addressed by these organisations, such as poverty, inequality, poor education and unemployment.

They run more efficiently, and are more accountable and transparent than public sector organisations. They are less dependent on external funding than non-profit organisations and charities. Worldwide, there is not enough grant funding for all the non-profit organisations looking for it.

Sustainable social models

An important element of successful social entrepreneurship is social impact monitoring and evaluation. The enterprise must constantly improve on delivering its mission and communicating the results of the impact to all its stakeholders.

Measuring impact may seem difficult. How can you tell a child became a doctor because they had access to lab facilities they previously had no access to? Maybe they were influenced by another factor. There are several tools to help a social enterprise focus its activities on outputs that will lead to the intended outcome which can then be measured.

These outputs become inputs that form a series of outcomes that, together, achieve the intended overall impact and become indicators the enterprise measures. Instead of measuring the number of learners who become doctors, the measure is the number of learners with access to lab facilities where none existed before. This is better than looking at the number of lab facilities provided, which is an input.

See the bigger picture, collaborate and achieve collective impact

These tools are called Logic Models. Demonstration of impact communicates why an enterprise should be supported by stakeholders. The use of Logic Models envisions the bigger picture and identifies other players to collaborate with to achieve collective impact.

Thompson Reuters Foundation reported that South Africa comes third in Africa after Egypt and Nigeria as the best place to be a social entrepreneur. This is very encouraging and is much needed in not only boosting the economy but addressing social and environmental issues.

Related: Busi Skenjana’s Two Core Rules Of Entrepreneurship

IN ACTION: Using a logic model to prove your impact


A logic model is a visual representation of how day to day activities of an organisation relate to their overall mission or long-term goal. The model is key in deciding what to measure for impact evaluation.

It has six components:

  1. The current situation: The problem being solved.
  2. Inputs: Resources used to address the problem.
  3. Outputs: Activities and services delivered by the enterprise.
  4. What outcomes will come about because of the inputs?
  5. External factors, or circumstances in the environment that influence the problem but which the enterprise has no control over.
  6. Assumptions that are conditions needed for the success of the programme.


Getting started

Involve all stakeholders in drawing up a logic model. The different perspectives help draw a complete picture. Impact measurement indicators are then based on these inputs and outcomes.

Adding value

Logic models link inputs, outputs and outcomes and ensure that the correct indicators are monitored and measured as an enterprise achieves its mission.

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Types of Businesses to Start

Selling Online: Be On The Right Side Of The Law With Your Ecommerce Start-Up

With ecommerce in South Africa growing at an exceptional pace, and the expected triple figure percentage surge of mobile spend predicted for 2018, it is more important than ever to ensure your online terms are in order.




E-commerce is at an all-time high across the globe. Selling products online is no longer only reserved for large retailers. With a variety of ecommerce platforms available, it’s never been easier for start-ups and small businesses to enter this competitive sector.

That said, many entrepreneurs are unaware of how important it is to have the necessary terms and conditions visible throughout their online store.

With ecommerce in South Africa growing at an exceptional pace, and the expected triple figure percentage surge of mobile spend predicted for 2018, it is more important than ever to ensure your online terms are in order.

What are online terms and conditions?

Online terms and conditions set out your agreement with your customers and users. They can range from simple, standard terms for ‘browse only’ websites, to complex e-commerce arrangements regulating the relationship between the buyers and sellers.

Online terms should essentially set out the rules that you and your users will follow and the terms when a purchase or transaction is being made. It should limit your liability if your product or service fails, explain each parties’ rights and cover what to do if any conflict arises.

Related: 5 Ecommerce Myths That Are Sabotaging People’s Businesses

The terms which should not be neglected are browser terms, privacy terms and commercial/ transactional terms. Each one of these deal with specific aspects of your app or website’s use. It includes, for example, limitation of liability, intellectual property rights, the collection of personal information, payment methods, dispute resolution and each parties’ rights.

Here’s a quick guide to each of these and why they are important:

Browser terms:

Browser terms apply to anyone “surfing” your website before you have a customer relationship with them, i.e. before the “browser” decides to make a purchase. It protects your business by setting out rules for the use of the website and making it clear that you have no responsibilities to the user.

The most important things to cover:

  • users to acknowledge that you don’t owe them any responsibilities
  • users are to respect your website and intellectual property
  • users don’t yet have any rights to any of your services or products
  • you own all intellectual property
  • website content is copyright protected and that the user only has a right to view it on your website.

In summary, the browser terms set out the “dos” and “don’ts” in relation to using your website and exist to limit your potential liability to users.

Related: 5 Basics To Success When Starting An Ecommerce Business

Commercial/ transactional terms:

Commercial or transactional terms are by far the most important terms to have in place. It serves as the contract between you and the user, once they become a customer, i.e. make an online purchase or an order for services through your app or website. It is the binding contract upon which your start-up earns revenue from selling products or delivering services.

Revenue is the lifeblood of a business, so you should give careful attention to the commercial terms to ensure that the essential features, including those that are unique to your product or service, are commercially accurate.

The important aspects that these terms should include are:

  • a general explanation of the service or product being offered through the app or website
  • payment methods, fees and any associated costs i.e. delivery fees
  • user/ customer account or profile requirements
  • duration and renewal terms
  • the applicability of promotional codes and vouchers
  • any unique sale terms that would apply to the products or services
  • the terms applicable to returns
  • limitation of liability provisions
  • any warranties made by the parties
  • any other disclosures that are required to be made in terms of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002.

Privacy terms:

The goal of privacy terms is to create your right to collect and use certain information about the users for specific purposes.

Personal information is often collected through cookies as well as when browsers become commercial or transactional users of your website or app. Users do so by creating an account or by integrating their social media accounts with the website or app. You need to explain the rights of the users regarding the information being collected, how it will be stored and the purposes for which it will be used.

The Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (“POPI”) sets conditions for the lawful processing of personal information and privacy terms assist you to comply with the legal requirements.

Privacy terms usually include the following important aspects:

  • the use of cookies to collect certain information
  • the purposes for the processing of the personal information
  • the sharing of personal information by the website owner with certain select third parties
  • the storage of personal information, including the security measures taken and whether cross-border storage will occur and
  • the user’s rights in relation to his/ her personal information and the recourse that he/ she has.

Related: 4 Methods For Building A Successful Ecommerce Brand

In closing, online terms are there to protect you and your business. Although it doesn’t mean you won’t ever be sued, it will ensure that you are prepared and protected against unlimited damages. Furthermore, make it your priority to be proactive and mitigate any claims that may arise against you.

So, if you don’t have online terms on your website or app, make sure you are compliant and put them online as a matter of urgency. If they are in place, review them regularly and make sure you’re covered on all fronts.

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